Croda International is seeing the fruits of its strategic investments in Brazil, with subsidiary Croda do Brasil completing the first full-year of operations at its specialty polymer site – which can produce surfactants used in lubricant applications – in the southeastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.
Located in the city of Campinas, the plants overall capacity was increased by 20 percent, reaching an annual capacity of about 4,000 tons, according to Cristian Galucci, operations director for Croda do Brasil.
The new site has operated since mid-2017, and is the final phase of several investments British specialty chemicals company Croda International has made in Brazil since 2013. These include a new distribution center, which it claims to have increased logistics and distribution speed by about 50 percent, as well as a new reservoir and storage area that offers process automation and improved safety, and an effluent treatment station. The latter enables 75 percent of the water used at the Campinas facility to be re-used on site.
Galucci told Lube Report that the plant mainly serves customers in Brazil, but products are exported to several countries in Latin America, such as Argentina, Colombia and Guatemala. Since July, the facility has also been serving clients in the United States. It was not in our original plan but, as our facilities in Europe are experiencing very high demand, we need to serve our northern neighbor from here, said Galucci.
Before the new installation, the Campinas plant was only working with lanoline, ester, and refined oils. The company has mapped out a large range of polymeric surfactants that can be manufactured and used across all of its market segments, the executive said, noting applications for water treatment, crop care, and lubrication.
For the latter, we have already been producing esters for the lubricant market. The new site, however, will help us further create blends so that we can develop tailor-made products for our clients which can then can add last-minute additives to finalize the lubricant development process,” said Galucci.
Logistics efficiency is key to controlling costs and keeping customers happy in the country, he noted. Our main advantage is that our key competitors do not produce in Brazil. Besides overseeing production at the plant, I also manage raw material imports. As you can imagine, getting these materials from a local supplier makes things a lot easier, he said.
Although the annual capacity of the Campinas plant is approximately 4,000 tons, Croda expects to produce around 1,200 tons this year, according to Galucci. The executive, who was unable to disclose monetary values, did forecast a between 15 and 20 percent growth in production every year for the next three to five years.
We have been investing much in the region lately. Although Brazil is our main focus, we are really set on serving Latin America as a whole, said Galucci.